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Sun May 12, 2019, 01:53 PM

This doctor posted online in favor of immunization. Then vaccine opponents targeted her.

(I'd post this in late breaking news because I think it's of national interest and importance, but the story is a few hours too old to post there).......


Dr. Monique Tello was attending a medical conference last fall when a speaker on social media suggested the physicians search themselves on Google. Why not, thought Tello, an internist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

She was stunned by what she found.

More than 100 negative one-star reviews and derogatory comments had been posted about her on popular physician rating websites.

“Ignorant, and could care less about her patients,’’ she recalled one poster writing.

“Danger,’’ another warned.

Tello soon discovered these comments were not from people who had been her patients, she said, but instead from anti-vaccine activists. The reviews on the websites Vitals and Healthgrades began pouring in last August, soon after Tello wrote pro-vaccine commentary on another doctor’s Instagram account.

More doctors say they are being attacked online for recommending parents vaccinate their children as part of a coordinated effort by anti-vaccine groups. Fictitious patient reviews are just one tactic; vaccine opponents have also deluged Facebook and Instagram accounts of doctors and practices, medical professionals said.

Physician rating sites are ideal targets for anti-vaccine activists because they’re often the first place online where prospective patients get information on doctors, and there are gaps in the verification process. The companies that host online doctor ratings generally do not guarantee a commenter is actually a patient of that doctor. Tello said that she repeatedly e-mailed the companies, but that Vitals and Healthgrades only removed the suspect reviews after she involved a lawyer. She never got through to anyone at Google, she said.

Because of this onslaught, some physicians say they know of colleagues who no longer publicly endorse vaccines. This comes as the United States experiences its worst measles outbreak in 25 years and some local and state governments consider tightening vaccine requirements. Other physicians have fought back, forming quick strike teams that jump online to a colleague’s defense.

A pediatric practice in Pittsburgh posted a 90-second video on its Facebook page in 2017 in which staff recommended the HPV vaccine, which protects against a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cancer. Within a week, more than 800 people posted 10,000 negative comments and reviews on the page for the practice, Kids Plus Pediatrics, and on other rating websites, chief executive Dr. Todd Wolynn said.

In response, Kids Plus created a pro-vaccine organization, Shots Heard Around the World, to support doctors under attack by quickly posting on their websites dozens of comments with links to scientific papers supporting the effectiveness of vaccination.

Doctors across the country have experienced onslaughts by vaccine opponents on a variety of online platforms.

Dr. Dana Corriel, an internist near New York City, last year posted that supplies of flu vaccine had arrived.

“A war erupted on my Facebook page,’’ with hundreds of comments, many saying she was poisoning children, she said. She took down the post after five days. “They were trying to cyberbully me, and it worked,’’ she said. “I was overwhelmed.’’


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Reply This doctor posted online in favor of immunization. Then vaccine opponents targeted her. (Original post)
groundloop May 2019 OP
hlthe2b May 2019 #1

Response to groundloop (Original post)

Sun May 12, 2019, 01:58 PM

1. THIS is why state legislatures/state health depts. that do not crack down on nonmedical exemptions

ARE the problem. Chicken livered approach to strict enforcement of required vaccinations for school enrollment and each year through college, sans any documented and valid medical contraindication, are putting countless people at risk.

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